In my first year of Naturopathic medical school we learned a hydrotherapy technique that was lovingly referred to as “cold, wet socks”. Sounds appealing doesn’t it? Despite the name, the warming socks (as I prefer to call it) treatment is cheap, simple and effective. And not nearly as unpleasant as the name would lead you to believe.
Why do Warming Socks?
The treatment works by stimulating the body’s natural defences. Warming socks is a type of “heating compress” – a hydrotherapy technique that causes the body to increase blood circulation in order to heat up the cold, wet socks.
This increase in blood circulation helps to relieve congestion and stimulates greater action of the immune system so that it is better able to fight the virus or bacteria causing the illness.
This treatment can also have a sedating effect, and many people report sleeping much better during the treatment.
It is best to start the warming socks treatment on the first day of an illness and repeat it for three nights in a row. It is most effective as part of an integrated treatment plan including rest, hydration, proper nutrition and immune-boosting botanicals or supplements.
How to do Warming Socks
One pair of thin cotton socks
One pair of thick wool socks
Sink or bucket filled with very cold (or iced) water
Tub or bucket filled with very warm water
A warm bed
Step 1: Get ready for bed
Step 2: Put cotton socks in a sink of very cold, or iced, water. Soak for a minute to saturate the socks then wring them out so that they do not drip.
Step 3: Place your bare feet into a tub or bucket of very warm water.
Soak your feet as long as you want, but make sure the water stays warm and so do your feet.
Step 4: Dry your feet with a towel and put the wet cotton socks on your feet.
Step 5: Immediately pull the dry wool socks over the wet socks. You want the wool socks to completely cover the cotton socks.
Step 6: Go to bed right away. Make sure your feet stay warm.
In the morning your feet will be warm and dry. Symptoms of your cold and head or chest congestion will be diminished or gone.
Repeat the warming socks treatment for three nights in a row. It can be used on adults and children but people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems should consult with a Naturopathic Doctor before starting the warming socks treatment.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.